What legal rights do I have when purchasing items online?
Since June 2014, contracts for the purchase of goods and services within England and Wales have been regulated by the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013. These regulations apply to transactions between; one, a consumer (an individual acting for non-business purposes) and two, a trader (someone acting for business or professional purposes). These transactions can be conducted ‘on-premises’ but also to transactions conducted online or ‘distance contracts’.
The Regulations do not extend to items purchased through a public auction, which includes purchases through online auction sites, such as eBay.
A trader is obliged to give the prospective purchaser certain prescribed information. This includes:
- The seller’s name and address
- Description with the main characteristics of the goods or services being offered
- The total cost of the item to be purchased
- Any delivery charges and, if applicable, the minimum contract length
If there is a complaints policy or a cancellation policy this must also be provided to the consumer.
Generally, there is a 14-day cancellation, or cooling-off, period. From when that period runs depends upon the type of goods or services purchased. It can either be from when you entered into a contract for services or when the goods purchased were delivered. However, there are some exceptions and importantly, these rights only apply to the original purchaser and the store may ask the original purchaser return it.
If you are experiencing any difficulties concerning a contract you have entered into online or would like further information and advice regarding your legal rights when purchasing online, please contact the Dispute Resolution team.
Hugh Storry Deans
Head of Dispute Resolution